Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:13 PM
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Murphy Holloway scored 15 points, Reginald Buckner added 13 and Ole Miss cruised to a 76-50 victory over McNeese State on Tuesday.
Holloway missed most of the first half after picking up two early fouls as the Rebels took a 39-30 halftime lead. But the senior returned in the second half to score 12 of his 15 points. He finished 7 of 7 from the field and added nine rebounds.
“This is a game that I felt like we were sleepwalking for the majority of it,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said.
Marshall Henderson went into the game leading the Southeastern Conference with 22 points per game, but scored nine points.
The Rebels (4-0) were without Derrick Millinghaus (9.7 ppg), a 5-foot-10 freshman guard who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Tuesday. He’s expected to miss about four weeks.
McNeese (1-3) was led by Desharick Guidry’s double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds. Kevin Hardy added 11.
The Cowboys, who lost their third straight — all on the road, committed 20 turnovers, which the Rebels converted into 23 points. The Rebels outrebounded McNeese 47-31.
“The score doesn’t really indicate it, but I thought we got better,” said Cowboys head coach Dave Simmons. “I saw some good things tonight and saw some improvements. I was proud of the way we fought back there at the end of the first half. I thought we got better. I saw some guys challenge each other tonight.”
Holloway’s energy and production helped the Rebels push their halftime lead to 54-35 with 13:20 remaining. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior was providing his usual muscle in the paint, but was also effective in the open floor, hitting Buckner for a pair of alley-oop dunks as the Rebels put the game out of reach.
“Murphy (Holloway) is our energy, and when he sat out all of except of six minutes of first half, I thought we were really lethargic,” Kennedy said. “We didn’t play well. I thought it was the worst game of the year for 40 minutes. We guarded in the second half. We stopped giving up so many second chance opportunities. Murphy’s energy really propelled us. We never got in any offensive rhythm whatsoever, but we’ll take it. We’ll take our fourth win.”
“They’re a very good basketball team,” Simmons said. “They have size. They can rebound the ball and they can pick it up and go.”
Buckner was 6 of 6 from the floor and added seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Henderson hit his first 3-pointer, but then went cold. The 6-foot-2 junior shot 3 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
Nick Williams added 10 points.
Demarco Cox scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in his first action this season after missing the first three games with a foot injury. The 6-8, 272-pound junior provides a big body in the paint who was a capable backup for Holloway and Buckner last season.